Wellspring Blog

Our family's baby steps to a healthier life.
Health Recipes

Cinnamon

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I love cinnamon. My daughter recently asked me why I use cinnamon in so many of my recipes and I got to explain to her some of the health benefits of this spice. Besides the obvious good taste, it is full of antioxidants (one teaspoon of cinnamon has as much potency as half a cup of blueberries), has anti-inflammatory properties, improves sensitivity to the insulin hormone, lowers blood sugar levels, has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, and more! For more details on each of these benefits, plus a few more, check out authoritynutrition.com.  Health.com discusses cinnamon from the point of view of a nutritionist and has great ideas how to incorporate more into your diet. Cinnamon has been shown to improve brain function, reduce the risk of diabetes, prevent tissue damage and inflammation, and reduce heart disease. With all these wonderful benefits, it truly is a great spice to incorporate, and especially for those on the journey to better health.

While cinnamon isn’t sweet by itself, it mimics the sensation and thus reduces our need for added sugars. I often use it in my coffee for a flavour boost and find it helps me feel like I enjoyed a sugary latte without the bad side effects. Simply add it to your grinds before brewing, or sprinkle some in the bottom of your mug before pouring a k-cup.

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Currently our Costco is carrying these two great apple products. My son loves unsweetened applesauce, and I add a dash of cinnamon to it before serving. These apple chips are simply dehydrated apples, no other ingredients! I open the bag and toss in a small scoop of cinnamon, then close the bag and gently shake. My kids prefer cinnamon apple chips to plain ones, but the pre-made cinnamon variety usually include sugar.

Many of my overnight oat recipes include cinnamon, but here is a quick yogurt parfait recipe my family loves.  I found these cute little canning jars at our local Canadian Tire store. They are the perfect size to make a yogurt cup for school and super cute. If you look at the ingredients in the average yogurt cup, you might be horrified to see the sugar content. I made the tough decision that these convenient cartons were not worth our grocery dollars. I thought it would be a rough transition, especially for my kids that loved eating at least one a day, but now they look forward to my parfaits just as much. At the beginning of the week I make up 6 of these yogurt jars (wish I had purchased more jars) and they are gone by Tuesday. You can use fresh fruits if you have them on hand, but they are just as tasty with frozen fruit. My go-to frozen fruit is an organic berry mix, but you could easily make a delicious peach or mango version with this recipe. Yogurt parfaits are just one simple way to cut back on the sugar your family eats and to include cinnamon in their diets. It is also completely customizable for your family’s preferences.

Yogurt Parfait

Makes one serving.

1/3 cup unsweetened organic yogurt (Greek or plain), I prefer it to be at least 2% fat, because our brains need these healthy fats.)

1/4 cup of frozen or fresh organic fruit

1 tsp honey (If your family is still sugar detoxing, you may need more honey at first. My daughter prefers 1 tbsp. You could also use maple syrup instead of honey.)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

These are general guidelines. Do not feel like you need to measure these ingredients. I eye-ball each jar and go by what my family prefers. Happy experimenting!

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